Riverbed and VMware Accelerate Virtual Traffic

Riverbed and VMware have teamed up to optimize virtual machine traffic between dispersed data centers.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 4, 2012
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Virtual machine (VM) traffic doesn't just stay inside of server chassis; it has the potential to move across disparate data centers and clouds that can be hundreds of miles apart. That distance can sometimes be a performance challenge as data traverses the WAN. A new partnership between virtualization vendor VMware and WAN optimization vendor Riverbed is aiming to help accelerate VM transfer speed.

VMware vCloud Connector

The VMware vCloud Connector is a new tool that helps to orchestrate and administer the migration of VMs across different data centers and clouds. Integrating vCloud Connector with Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization appliances goes a step further to accelerate VM migration traffic.

"Now when an organization is moving hundreds or thousands of VMs from one location to another multiple times a day, that traffic can now have the same acceleration that Riverbed provides for any other traffic type," Miles Kelly, senior director of Product Marketing at Riverbed, told Enterprise Networking Planet.

One of the primary techniques that Riverbed uses to help accelerate traffic is by way of de-duplication and removing redundant bits of information. As it turns out, with VM traffic there is a lot that de-duplication can offer to improve overall network performance. Kelly noted that VM traffic in some cases is highly redundant. In some initial tests conducted by Riverbed they found that VM transfers that previously took 132 minutes to move, only took 45 seconds once de-duplication was applied.

New entry-level Steelhead hardware

In addition to the VMware optimization, Riverbed this week also announced new entry level Steehead appliances. The Steelhead 150 is available as both a physical box and as a virtual appliance at the bottom end of the Riverbed portfolio.

The Steelhead 150 provides up to 1 megabits per second (Mbps) of throughput with a 40 gigabit (GB) disk, in contrast to the previous entry point product which was the Steelhead 250 that delivers 2 Mbps with a 40 GB disk. Riverbed is aiming to sell the Steelhead 150 for less than $1,000.

Riverbed recently announced a new top-end series called the Steelhead EX. A key new feature in that product family is the Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (Edge-VSI). The Steelhead 150, does not have Edge-VSI capabilities because it is not targeted for data center usage.

The Steelhead 150 is being positioned for retail organization and small offices that don't need Riverbed's bigger boxes and will potentially be attracted to the lower price point.

"Riverbed loves all traffic," Kelly said. "By bringing the 150 to market now it's really in response to the growing number of end points in a network, where customers are looking for optimization and acceleration."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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